US ROUND-UP: Leeward adds 580MW capacity in Indiana to portfolio, Ørsted lands PPA for 200MW Texas project, Navisun launches pollination programme

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Navisun’s new solar projects have been certified as pollinator-friendly by the University of Massachusetts. Image: Navisun.

Leeward buys Tri Global’s Indiana portfolio

26 April 2021: Utility-scale renewables group Tri Global will sell two projects in Indiana, totalling 580MW capacity, to Texas-based Leeward Renewable Energy.

The projects – the 180 megawatt (MW) Hoosier Line Wind project and the 400MW Honey Creek Solar project – are expected to come online in 2023 and represent Tri Global’s first project sale.

Leeward, which set up by Canadian pension fund OMERS, was until recently better known in the energy sector for its 2GW wind portfolio, but unveiled a plan to buy First Solar’s 10GW-strong US solar pipeline for US$261 million last month. Chief executive Jason Allen told PV Tech earlier this year that the company is targeting accelerated growth in the utility-scale solar sector, adding that the company “needs to be working on that scale or have neighbouring projects to really be able to compete.”

Commenting on this latest acquisition, Allen said the projects will “accelerate our efforts in the Indiana market and are highly complementary to our aggressive growth strategy across the U.S.”

Ørsted signs PPA for 200MW Texas solar project

26 April 2021: Utility Ørsted has secured a power purchase agreement (PPA) with pharmaceutical group MSD for a 200MW solar park in Texas.

The Armadillo Solar Center, which will be based in Navarro County, is due to begin commercial operations in 2023.

The Danish utility giant is set to begin commercial operations on another Texas project this year, its first utility-scale solar-plus-storage system in Andrews County, where it broke ground in 2019.

Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president and chief commercial officer of onshore in Ørsted, said it is “exciting” to partner with a new company on an offtaking agreement and “expand our customer base to the pharmaceutical industry.”

Navisun adds two Massachusetts projects, launches pollinator scheme

26 April 2021: Independent power producer (IPP) Navisun has completed two small utility-scale solar projects in Massachusetts that will be used in its new pollinator programme.

The projects, which total 3.8MW capacity, are based in Orange and Sheffield, and are expected to be able to power the equivalent of 600 homes with clean energy. At the same time, they are also among the first sites in the state to qualify for a pollinator adder in the Massachusetts’ SMART programme.

They have received certification as pollinator-friendly projects from the University pf Massachusetts Clean Energy Extension, which requires that the site grounds are maintained in a way that nurtures native meadow habitats around the solar panels. In order to meet the university’s criteria, Navisun was also required to plant native flowering herbs and shrubs, protect bee nesting areas and provide safe routes for local wildlife.

John Malloy, managing partner and co-founder of Navisun, said that applying for the pollinator adder in the SMART programme is “one more way Navisun demonstrates its conscientious commitment to the environment and land stewardship.”

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